Are you a leader or a follower in the workplace?
Do you set trends, lead projects and organise activities? Do you possess first-rate communication skills, unwavering confidence and a never-say-die attitude? Is your boss cagily looking over his or her shoulder in case you nick their job?
If so, you’re on the right flight path for a glittering career at the top.
For those on the flip side, however, it’s possible that the majority of your career has been spent in the shadows of more assertive colleagues, taking orders and often blindly following those who (on the face of it, at least) have all the answers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
With a few handy hints, a dollop of hard work and oodles of perseverance, you can stop being a follower, begin to lead change in your organisation, and climb the career ladder in the process.
Here’s how ...
- Grab a university qualification
Although you’ll gain invaluable years of experience performing your duties in the workplace, some potentially great leaders may require an educational shot in the arm to equip them with the skills and confidence to make decisions and direct a team.
Consequently, a leadership and management degree through an institution like Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning is often the first step for ambitious career men and women looking to increase their impact in the workplace. However, a university qualification needn’t mean giving up your current role, as you can study via distance learning in your spare time.
- Learn to take the initiative
It’s easy to become stagnant in your existing position, ambling through your day without a care in the world—but if it’s your dream to reach the top, you must go above and beyond. This means asking your boss for more responsibility and taking on extra work.
Remember that you’ll never grow vocationally if everything you do is positioned neatly within the cosy parameters of your comfort zone. But when you take on more work, you’ll be learning new skills which will undoubtedly help once you receive the promotion you’ve been striving for.
- Practice effective listening
As the author Bryant H. McGill once noted: “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Indeed, nowhere is this truer than in the business world, as effective leaders should have first-class listening skills.
Why? Because without effective listening skills, you’ll have little to no idea of how happy (or unhappy) your team members are and what aspects of their role they love or hate. Additionally, make sure you maintain eye contact and be aware of your body language—both negative and positive—when communicating with your colleagues.
What do you think?
Do you have any top tips for our readers looking to improve their leadership skills and climb the corporate career ladder? Please let us know by leaving a comment below—we’d love to read your thoughts.